Editor’s note: The opinions below are the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.
Nov. 17, 2017
The Hon. Rodney Frelinghuysen
30 Schuyler Place, Second Floor
Morristown, NJ 07960-3933
Dear Rep. Frelinghuysen:
On Thursday, Nov. 16th, the Republican Tax Reform bill passed the House despite your vote in opposition.
There have been some subsequent headlines that lead the casual follower of news and politics to believe that you, with your NO vote, bravely stood up for your constituents. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This bill would have never even seen the light of day had you not helped pass Budget Reconciliation a little while back when you voted YES instead of NO. (For the record, all of the other members of the New Jersey delegation voted NO for the same reasons that you now cite…it was BAD for New Jersey.)
After days of not going on the record to express your concerns and tell us your position, you stayed silent…although other New Jersey GOP representatives did let their position be known.
Furthermore, you did nothing to tell New Jerseyans that the relentless TV ads, being run by a Super PAC asking the middle-class to “Thank Rodney Frelinghuysen” for looking out for their best interests with the passage of this bill, were, at best, disingenuous. By your very vote and subsequent statement, you admitted that.
Simply put, the Republicans needed your YES vote to help pass the budget when no other New Jersey Congressman would give it to them. You obliged.
This time, you stayed silent until the GOP leadership was assured they had enough votes to pass their bill. Once it was clear that it would pass, you were given your “permission slip” to vote NO.
As appropriations committee chair, you had the standing to protect New Jersey, and the bully pulpit to push for relief on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions.
But, instead of using your prominent position in House leadership to do that, you ducked your responsibility to your constituents and allowed this bill to move forward. You might have voted NO, but your silence was instrumental in this bill’s passage at our expense.
Salvatore M. Schifano